A taut thriller: Rashid Irani reviews All the Money in the World
A billionaire’s grandson is kidnapped; he won’t pay a ransom. Ridley Scott expertly retells a sensational tale.movie reviews Updated: Jan 04, 2018 16:27 IST
- Direction: Ridley Scott
- Actors: Christopher Plummer, Michelle Williams
- Rating: 4 / 5
It was a sensational news story back in 1973. While walking the streets of Rome alone at night, the 16-year-old grandson of American billionaire J Paul Getty was abducted by masked men.
His captors demanded a ransom of $17 million for the boy’s safe release. Getty refused to part with a penny, despite his oil billions.
“I have 14 grandchildren and if I pay one penny now, I’ll have 14 kidnapped grandchildren,” he famously said.
Ridley Scott’s retelling of events benefits hugely from a stellar cast. The self-absorbed tycoon is played by a never-better Christopher Plummer, taking over from the disgraced Kevin Spacey following allegations of sexual misconduct. The boy’s mother, Gail, by Michelle Williams — terrific here, unlike her lacklustre turn in last week’s The Greatest Showman.
A supreme stylist, Scott builds up the tension superbly. The standoff stretches out over months; midway, the teenager’s right ear is cut off. Gail becomes increasingly desperate to rescue her son (Charlie Plummer, no relation to Christopher), and finally gets some help from a fixer (Mark Wahlberg) tasked by old man Getty with resolving the crisis.
The negotiations with the abductors are not always convincing, but the ticking-clock thriller elements are executed with flair.
It is also commendable that Ridley Scott managed to reshoot all the Kevin Spacey scenes in time to ensure the film made the deadline for awards-season contention.
Both Christopher Plummer and Michelle Williams have already garnered Golden Globe nominations. Given their performances, Oscars could follow.